Most overrated home-brew topics?

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TorMag

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Originally Posted by 55x11 View Post
too many weird additions/adjuncts. Yes, we are all very impressed with your rhubarb/portabella/molasses/brazillian nut/bluefish tuna wheat rye saison, but come on!


Does someone have an extract version of this?
 

h22lude

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"stranded on a desert island near an open volcanic fissure with only 2 grains and a wild hop yard ..... what would you brew?"

Dafuq?
This is a topic you see a lot on here? lol I don't think I have ever seen someone ask any question similar to this.
 

Tactical-Brewer

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Overrated home brew topic... I'd honestly say the whole "just add more grain" statements.

I understand that whole philosophy isn't an issue for some, those who've got expendable income or whatever, but for folks like myself when I'm looking at an extra pound of grain at over 3 bucks a pop, I'd rather try to find out my issues on the home front to get the most out of my money spent already.

To me, it's like someone saying, "hey my car's getting crappy gas mileage, any idea what the culprit could be?" And someone replying "eh, just put some more gas in it..." When in all reality, you could just need a new spark plug, new air filter, etc, etc.

Not trying to be a smart @ss about it, and no, I'm not saying chase the efficiency rainbow or whatever, but yeah, when I'm getting getting 60% efficiency and the culprit was because I was trying to fly sparge with a mesh hose manifold (now dumb on my part admittedly) I would have wasted a ton of money on "extra grain" had I not just asked about it or done some research.
 
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55x11

55x11

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Really? You think 80% mash or brewhouse efficiency is unreachable? You're kidding right?

I don't care about chasing efficiency numbers, but to say people are ignorant or lying if they get 80% mash/brewhouse is just...
I have also seen people report 90%, 100% and even 110% efficiency - on HBT. So yes, some of them (most of them) are not calculating volumes or weights properly, or don't understand what efficiency means.

In any case, this topic is overrated. Nobody should care if it's 50% or "120%" efficiency as long as it's stable and predictable.

(P.S. But good for you on getting 80% efficiency. You may be saving up to $1-$2 per 5G batch.)
 

Stillraining

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I dont see anything on your list that is over talked about for the new brewer. We all join the forum at different times...and thanks goodness, or this place would be so boring who would want to spend time here. Playing it forward and helping the next guy with his question is half the fun of this place. Forums are a meeting place for people with like interests and opinions, a place to get one on one answers in almost real time. Hope this place doesn't turn into a "Go look it up Kid" Wikipedia for brewers...Id be out of here.

Sure people should use the search function to see if their question has been asked before but everyone perceives a possible problem differently and might not know exactly what they should be asking/searching for. Or just plain needs reassurance from someone directly.

I welcome the 'Is this infected " Have I ruined my Beer" "Whats the best_____?" questions

We were all there once after all and greatly appreciated personal attention to our questions. Right? Remove those questions and this is just a good o'l boys club full of mostly pot bellied time wasters. ( that's me right now..I should be fixing that slow bathroom sink drain as I sit here to pee...but you'all are so much more fun craping all over my 90% efficiency numbers it hard to pull myself away :) )
 

Michigan_Wolfman

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Cloning Beer
Exactly! I mean, there are some great beers out there that definitely are worth trying to replicate on the homebrew front, but 9 times out of 10, you'll see a thread around here saying "Need a good clone recipe for (insert the name of some insipid mass produced yellow swill such as Bud Lite or Coors here)!"
 
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55x11

55x11

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No I do not have a chemistry background. It is easy to understand the basics of water for brewing. But if you read on, I said it is extremely hard to master water chemistry. I got a water report. I read the intro from Bru'n Water. I read Water. I entered my water report into Bru'n Water. Figured out what my water should look like for the style of beer I'm making and then match it with some calcium chloride and gypsum additions. I then correct my estimated mash pH using lactic acid. I do measure my mash pH 15 minutes into the mash to make sure the estimated mash pH was around what it actually is. That is very easy for most people to do. That is all you need. Sure getting into the hows and whats and whys is complicated but most people don't need to know the chemical make up of these minerals and how they interact with the water and grain. Knowing your water report and what you need to do to get the minerals in line with the style you are making and the mash pH is important to making great beer and isn't hard to learn at all.

The reason people ask so many questions is because it sounds a lot harder than it is. Like I said, getting into the actual chemistry of what is happening is extremely tough to understand but 99% of home brewers don't need to know why. They need to understand their water, what minerals to add, why they are being added (i.e. IPAs need more calcium and gypsum is better than calcium chloride for IPAs) and how these change their mash pH. All that is very easy to learn.

If we are talking about two different things, then I apologize. When you say water chemistry my mind goes to mineral additions, grist and mash pH. If you are referring to the actual chemistry of it all; how calcium chloride reacts with the grains to lower mash pH, why lactic acid or acid malt changes the mash pH or why darker beers have a lower mash pH, then yes I agree it is very complicated and most home brewers won't need to get that far into it. I read Water and need to read it again to understand it but it gave me so much good info on the basics of water and the different additions. For me, that is all I need to know and that has turned my good beer into great beer using my tap water.
Ok, Fine. you think water chemistry is easy - tell me 5 other things that are part of home-brewing requires more technical expertise and scientific knowledge, and bring a lot less "bang for the buck" and yet we talk about it constantly. that's the topic of this thread - it's not that it's useless, it's that it's too much work for relatively little benefit.

To me water chemistry clearly one of the most, if not THE MOST advanced and complicated topic of home brewing. I can easily list 20 other things that any beginner or intermediate brewer should do before they even think about chasing Edinburgh or Pilsen water profile, assuming that's the ideal and necessary composition to make a decent Scotch Ale or Pilsner.

Calculating water profiles and plugging in the bicarbonate/sulfate/chloride numbers into a spreadsheet combines the fun of filing taxes and having a root canal, without all the fun of tax refund or anesthesia.

Having routinely done all three (yes, I do actually use Bru'n Water and Beersmith water tool quite a bit - and I vorlauf too, but I still think its overrated), I wouldn't recommend it to a friend who is into brewing as in "Hey, this water chemistry stuff is so much fun, very intuitive and super-easy to understand too - you should totally do this!".
 

daveMN

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BIAB. It's not the only brewing method out there, but it sure seems so. However, I BIAB and think it's great. I'm surprised it's taken this long for BIAB to getting brought up in a thread. :mug: :drunk:
 

pricelessbrewing

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BIAB. It's not the only brewing method out there, but it sure seems so. However, I BIAB and think it's great. I'm surprised it's taken this long for BIAB to getting brought up in a thread. :mug: :drunk:
I attribute the popularity to two things,

1) low cost to entry. Mashtuns are more expensive than a grainbag.

2) most biabers use no sparge, or at most a single infusion + a single sparge. This simplifies things a lot more than in the old days of decoction, vorlauf, fly sparge, etc etc.

Also I'm out on this thread. Just negativity.
 

h22lude

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Ok, Fine. you think water chemistry is easy - tell me 5 other things that are part of home-brewing requires more technical expertise and scientific knowledge, and bring a lot less "bang for the buck" and yet we talk about it constantly. that's the topic of this thread - it's not that it's useless, it's that it's too much work for relatively little benefit.

To me water chemistry clearly one of the most, if not THE MOST advanced and complicated topic of home brewing. I can easily list 20 other things that any beginner or intermediate brewer should do before they even think about chasing Edinburgh or Pilsen water profile, assuming that's the ideal and necessary composition to make a decent Scotch Ale or Pilsner.

Calculating water profiles and plugging in the bicarbonate/sulfate/chloride numbers into a spreadsheet combines the fun of filing taxes and having a root canal, without all the fun of tax refund or anesthesia.

Having routinely done all three (yes, I do actually use Bru'n Water and Beersmith water tool quite a bit - and I vorlauf too, but I still think its overrated), I wouldn't recommend it to a friend who is into brewing as in "Hey, this water chemistry stuff is so much fun, very intuitive and super-easy to understand too - you should totally do this!".
That's is fine if you think that. For AG, i find it to be very important. I dont find it hard at all and the 5 minutes it takes to get what mineral additions i need is well worth the time. Just like someone else said, we will agree to disagree.
 

alphaomega

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I'd say mash temp control. Don't get me wrong here, if you built a nice shiny stainless RIMS setup with PID control and what not, that is awesome. I'm all for that stuff, because I like tinkering.
I just don't think it will have that much of an impact on the finished beer over just mashing in at the right temp. Or rather, there are a lot of other factors that you'd be better off getting better control over first.
 

MapleGroveAleworks

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This reminds me of a thread intended to start arguments. So you win in that regard.

I enjoy adjusting my water for the beer style I intend to brew and I don't think it's overrated at all. I don't really know what else to say, I'm not going to defend my opinion with paragraphs.
 

h22lude

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I enjoy adjusting my water for the beer style I intend to brew and I don't think it's overrated at all. I don't really know what else to say, I'm not going to defend my opinion with paragraphs.
I agree 100%. I think it is part of brewing and enjoy doing it. I think for a lot of people they can use tap water and make decent beer but if they just looked into their water and added a few minerals they could be making great beer. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out Bru'n Water. Took another 10 minutes to read about the different types of additions and what they do. Before a brew day I spend 5 minutes looking up what minerals are good for the style I'm brewing and using Bru'n Water to get my water within range. 5 minutes to drastically increase the quality of my beer is time we'll spent. I don't think there is anything you can spent that little time on and get an improvement like this.

If someone gets a water report and figures out their water is perfect for the styles they brew, they won't need to spend the extra 5 minutes each brew day which is fine but at least they spent the time to figure out their water was good. That's what's important. If you go with the mentality that water adjustments are hard and pointless, you will never know how much of a better beer you can brew.

To each their own though. Doesn't matter how you do it as long as you are having fun and making beer you want to drink.
 

TorMag

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I agree 100%. I think it is part of brewing and enjoy doing it. I think for a lot of people they can use tap water and make decent beer but if they just looked into their water and added a few minerals they could be making great beer. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out Bru'n Water. Took another 10 minutes to read about the different types of additions and what they do. Before a brew day I spend 5 minutes looking up what minerals are good for the style I'm brewing and using Bru'n Water to get my water within range. 5 minutes to drastically increase the quality of my beer is time we'll spent. I don't think there is anything you can spent that little time on and get an improvement like this.

If someone gets a water report and figures out their water is perfect for the styles they brew, they won't need to spend the extra 5 minutes each brew day which is fine but at least they spent the time to figure out their water was good. That's what's important. If you go with the mentality that water adjustments are hard and pointless, you will never know how much of a better beer you can brew.

To each their own though. Doesn't matter how you do it as long as you are having fun and making beer you want to drink.
Honest question, not trolling. Have you ever brewed two batches of the same beer side by side one with treated water and one without?
 

h22lude

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Honest question, not trolling. Have you ever brewed two batches of the same beer side by side one with treated water and one without?
Yes, back to back. Huge difference. Since then, I haven't brewed without treating my water with something. I usually use some mix of calcium chloride and gypsum with some amount of lactic acid.

My batch fermenting right now was treated with calcium and acid. The last time I brewed this I wasn't treating my water. I remember exactly what this beer tasted like. Obviously not as good as my back to back batches but I'm confident that I will be able to tell if the water helped. This last batch had my typical off flavor that was from my water.
 

TorMag

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Yes, back to back. Huge difference. Since then, I haven't brewed without treating my water with something. I usually use some mix of calcium chloride and gypsum with some amount of lactic acid.

My batch fermenting right now was treated with calcium and acid. The last time I brewed this I wasn't treating my water. I remember exactly what this beer tasted like. Obviously not as good as my back to back batches but I'm confident that I will be able to tell if the water helped. This last batch had my typical off flavor that was from my water.
Thanks. I have been wondering about this. Went into a very popular brew pub in my area this weekend, 2 miles from home same water source. I asked if they treated their water at all, said no, only filtered. They make really good beer.
 

h22lude

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Thanks. I have been wondering about this. Went into a very popular brew pub in my area this weekend, 2 miles from home same water source. I asked if they treated their water at all, said no, only filtered. They make really good beer.
Carbon or reverse osmosis? If your water is good, a carbon filter may be all you need. My water has low calcium and it creates a high mash ph. Simple fix with some calcium and acid.
 

TorMag

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Carbon, and yeah, our water is pretty decent. I just pulled the trigger two days ago on Amazon for a drinking hose and carbon filter myself.
 

atom

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is this supposed to be "over-posted" topics, not overrated?
 

Jimbodaman

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Ok, Fine. you think water chemistry is easy - tell me 5 other things that are part of home-brewing requires more technical expertise and scientific knowledge, and bring a lot less "bang for the buck" and yet we talk about it constantly. that's the topic of this thread - it's not that it's useless, it's that it's too much work for relatively little benefit.

To me water chemistry clearly one of the most, if not THE MOST advanced and complicated topic of home brewing. I can easily list 20 other things that any beginner or intermediate brewer should do before they even think about chasing Edinburgh or Pilsen water profile, assuming that's the ideal and necessary composition to make a decent Scotch Ale or Pilsner.

Calculating water profiles and plugging in the bicarbonate/sulfate/chloride numbers into a spreadsheet combines the fun of filing taxes and having a root canal, without all the fun of tax refund or anesthesia.

Having routinely done all three (yes, I do actually use Bru'n Water and Beersmith water tool quite a bit - and I vorlauf too, but I still think its overrated), I wouldn't recommend it to a friend who is into brewing as in "Hey, this water chemistry stuff is so much fun, very intuitive and super-easy to understand too - you should totally do this!".
I agree water chemistry is not easy by any means to understand. TBH I have no idea why or what any of the chemical reactions mean, I just plug numbers into a calculator and do what it tells me. I'm a huge advocate of "water adjustments", in order of easiest and usually most beneficial:

1) remove chlorine/chloramine if on municipal water, 1/2 campden tablet

2) find or get water report adjust mash pH accordingly (I use brewersfriend for calculations and acid malt for adjustments)
These two things are a minimum that will greatly improve your beer.

3) Build your own water using salts/calculators. I always just shoot for a balanced profile no matter the beer (if I choose to adjust at all).. Once you know what salts to add it's no harder than weighing out hops.

4) You could take it to the next level and build a water profile specifically for each beer, just like not all your beers have the same hop additions.

The point is adding water salts is no harder than adding hops.

I also agree I wouldn't advocate matching certain water profiles "burton on trent" what's the point? Get used to building a basic balanced profile and eventually tweak your water profile recipe for malty/hoppyness to your liking.
 

h22lude

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Carbon, and yeah, our water is pretty decent. I just pulled the trigger two days ago on Amazon for a drinking hose and carbon filter myself.
That's is what I figured. Carbon filters basically remove just the chlorine and bad taste some water has but leaves the minerals. So you must have good mineral make up in your water. That's great. I'd still suggest getting a test so you can estimate mash ph.
 

TorMag

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That's is what I figured. Carbon filters basically remove just the chlorine and bad taste some water has but leaves the minerals. So you must have good mineral make up in your water. That's great. I'd still suggest getting a test so you can estimate mash ph.
I used someone else's :)) water profile on HBT that lives a miles or two away. Yeah, we have good minerals.
 

Yeastieboy

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Clone clone clone... Getting ready to clone a clone and then I might do a clone of someone else's clone before I clone more clones. I love clones. Does anyone have some good clones of clones?
 

Beerthoven

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Everything is overrated. This forum has 540,850 threads and 7,414,670 posts. If that isn't overkill then I don't know what is.
 

ruger988

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Skimmed the thread, so sorry if it's already been said (well, not really) Temp control. Knockout and pitch at a reasonable temperature and you'll be fine. The volumes we're brewing we're not seeing crazy amounts of heat build up from fermentation.

Don't get me wrong, it's important, but no where near as much as some people would lead you to believe. Give me a room with a good stable temp in the upper 60's-lower 70's, and I'll be just fine.
 
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55x11

55x11

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Skimmed the thread, so sorry if it's already been said (well, not really) Temp control. Knockout and pitch at a reasonable temperature and you'll be fine. The volumes we're brewing we're not seeing crazy amounts of heat build up from fermentation.

Don't get me wrong, it's important, but no where near as much as some people would lead you to believe. Give me a room with a good stable temp in the upper 60's-lower 70's, and I'll be just fine.

I would agree if you can naturally stabilize temperature between 60 and 70 year around. In my garage it's pretty close but could get 70-73 in the summer during the day and that's a bit too warm for my taste. But I often ferment without t control, especially Belgians, saisons etc. or after 2 days or so of fermentation I can take it out of fermentation chamber and let it go naturally.

Having said all that, just like with water - people need to have a concept of how good or bad their temperature range is. Fermenting their beers in 75F closets won't work for many styles. And even at 5-10G volumes internal temperature of fermented wort could easily be 3-5F above ambient.
 
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